SNAP Asks Bishops to Warn about Abusive Priest
For immediate release:
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003
For more information:
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915
Twice-Accused Maine Cleric Now Lives In NH & Florida
The head of the nation's largest support group for clergy sex abuse victims is asking Catholic bishops to warn their flocks about a retired Maine priest who has twice been accused of molestation and now quietly lives in Gilford.
"Parents, children, neighbors and other members of the community are unaware of Kane's history of sexual abuse of children," said SNAP national director David Clohessy in a letter sent via e mail today to Bishop John J. Nevins of Venice, Florida and Bishop John McCormack of Manchester, New Hampshire. "How are parents in Gilford and elsewhere going to protect their children from sexual abuse if no one tells them that the person who lives next door or down the street could hurt their child?"
SNAP's letter urges the bishops to warn others "that a sexual molester is living anonymously in their midst," using the diocesan newspaper, web site, and church bulletins. "Please also take immediate steps to make sure Kane does not present himself as a priest, help out with confessions, offer himself as a volunteer in any of your diocesan schools or say Mass for a vacationing priest," the group asks.
According to SNAP, Kane was first accused of sexually abusing a boy while pastor of St. Bartholomew's Church in Cape Elizabeth, Maine in 1982. After a church investigation, Kane was removed from the parish. At the time, the church did not report the allegations to the police. In 1995, Kane settled a civil suit by a second man who also said Kane sexually abused him when he was a boy. The allegation was too old at the time to lead to criminal charges. One of Kane's victims, SNAP says, committed suicide.
The group also maintains that Kane continues to publicly present himself as a priest, violating the guidelines bishops enacted last year. Kane's answering machine says, "Hi, this is Father Frank." Innocent children are not prepared to protect themselves from charming, friendly and persuasive sexual molesters - especially ones disguised as Catholic priests.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.